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Thread: marking question

  1. #21
    Senior Member Gun_Dog2002's Avatar
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    It's the dogs job to mark and retrieve. Resist the urge to help. Let the gunner help. Short grass, salt the area. Success breeds confidence, which leads to perseverance

    /Paul
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  2. #22
    Senior Member BJGatley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles C. View Post
    It's a different scenario when you throw the marks yourself. When I think of a dog giving up, I think the dog is quitting on the mark and coming back to the line or handler. In that case, I'd get the bird boy to do whatever it takes to get the dog to stay out in the field and get the mark. If you're throwing marks by yourself and the dog is giving up on the hunt, just do what you're doing or throw another when it's not looking at you. I'd then simplify (salting the area, making the marks much easier, etc.). If the dog still quits and shows no interest, I'd make sure they were healthy and not expending all their energy doing something else when you're not training. If you ruled that out, I'd take a hard look at whether the dog has enough desire to do whatever you are intending it to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Breck View Post
    back in July you posted about another dog Popping on marks and now this puppy is having trouble coming up with whatever it is you're doing.
    given that, i would suspect that you don't really know how to teach a dog to mark and need some help learning what to do and what not to do.
    seek out someone near you who knows what's going on.
    at the very least, for the puppy, you should run the dog yourself and have someone else out in field throwing marks. stop throwing marks yourself if that's what you're doing. NO walking baseball or crap like that. Just run plain old marks with a helper. Throws should be angled back slightly landing on wide open ground, like cut fairway grass. Bird or bumper must be visable to dog as he approches the fall area.
    Give dog a stead diet of this sort of mark.
    Give dog a chance to hunt. That is, as long as dog is making passes back and forth say 10, 20, 25 yards around the fall, let the dog continue to hunt. Do nothing.
    Your birdboy/thrower should be instructed exactly how he will help when called on to do so by you, otherwise he just stands or sits still.
    I suspect you and your helper have been too quick to help and has caused pert of the problem with dog quiting on hunts.
    If and when dog ctually needs help, like when he's going to leave the area, radio instructions to your helper then. Until that happens helper is not to assume or do anything on his own.
    Use the minimum amount of help when needed and escalate as as necessary.
    Basically help begins with helper simply standing, and maybe taking a few steps towards bird, then maybe add a hey hey and fake throw arm swing, if dog doesnt respond louder hey hey and maybe flip another bird in when dog is looking, etc etc. Once help escallates helper must coutinue, pulling out all the stops until he puts dog on the bird.
    Avoid trying to blow whistle and handle puppy on marks. don't do dirt clod drills until after TT & swimby.
    Pops are tough some times but if dog is popping try waiting him out. Stand still, do nothing and wait for dog to make decission to continue on his own.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Shih View Post
    It is hard to know what the issue is without seeing your dog. But, I have the sense that you have not really taught it to how to mark and/or given it confidence in its ability to find marks.

    I have a young bitch (5 months old) that will be going off to the pro in a month or so. She is very well bred (FC/AFC x FC/AFC) and I was a little concerned when she did not seem interested in retrieving after I got her. I began by throwing very short marks down the hallway (as many have suggested) and making it a fun game for her. I did it first thing in the morning - before we went on our daily walk - when her energy was the highest, and made it exciting. Before too long, she was really jacked up, and I could throw her very short marks in the house several times a day.

    Once I knew she liked to retrieve, when we went on our morning and evening walks in the park and when she started to explore, I would yell "Hey, hey" and flip a little puppy bumper in the short grass. After I knew she understood that game, I would - on occasion - throw the bumper in taller cover to encourage her to go dig it up. Again, very short marks, where she was only 10 feet or so from me. I wanted her to have fun and be successful.

    I don't have access to young kids who want to throw in my neighborhood - and even if I had Bumper Boys, I couldn't use them without someone reporting me. So, except for the rare weekend when I can persuade my wife to throw marks, I rely on stand alones.

    I take all of my dogs to puppy socialization, then obedience 1 and obedience 2 before they head off to the pro. To help work on the sit (which I think is the foundation of dog training), I begin by walking 10 feet away from my puppy, saying sit and then throwing a bumper off to my side. No voice, no excitement. Make it easy for the pup to sit and also to see the bumper. Then release on her name. I work on lengthening the distance and before too long, I am at 100+ yards. When I begin, all of our work is in the park, short grass, bumper very visible. I typically only throw flat and angle back. (Flat because I want the puppy to hunt away from the gun. Angle back because I want the puppy to hunt deep of the gun)

    Puppy learns to use her eyes to find her retrieve. If the puppy starts backsiding me, I shorten the distance. If the puppy starts running to me, I shorten the distance. If the puppy starts hunting short, I shorten distance. I am doing everything I can to teach the puppy good habits. I am training, not testing. Once I am getting consistent success, I stretch distance. Through this repetition puppy learns to mark - which to me means learning to understand the spatial relationship between gun and bird.

    Once puppy is good at marks in the short grass, I go to parks where I know there is terrain and cover, as well as grass. I start with grass, to remind puppy of basic principles. Then I shorten distance and start throwing marks in cover. Like before, when I have consistent success at short distances, I stretch out. I do not use birds, guns, or bird throwers. Just me and a couple of bumpers (if puppy gets lost, I want another bumper to toss).

    When I was down in Texas training earlier this month, I did marks in the fields by the motel. Some marks in short grass. Some in very thick cover. Always looking for success. When we were training, and there was a break in the action, I would take puppy out on the fields and throw her some more marks. And then marks after training was done, again at the motel. If you haven't guessed, this puppy is wild about retrieving ( a far cry from the 8 week puppy whose desire I was concerned about)

    I don't know how this one will do once she gets in training with the pro. I do know that she loves to retrieve. That she runs hard to the Area of the Fall. And when she approaches, she is looking for something (using her eyes) and once she gets to what she thinks is the area of fall, she knows how to use her nose.

    Key points
    1. Make it fun
    2. No pressure
    3. Teach
    4. Train
    5. Instill success

    I can't imagine working on the dirt clod drill with an 8 month puppy. My general sense is that you need to simplify.


    Got my votes big time.
    It's usually the trainer that is at fault and not the dog....Seek some experience folks to help you out. What can you lose except that of the dog you are trying to train. 8 months...Lord have mercy.

  3. #23

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    I think that some of the problems people have when training dogs is that people think on human terms & concepts & dogs don't.

  4. #24
    Senior Member WBF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun_Dog2002 View Post
    It's the dogs job to mark and retrieve. Resist the urge to help. Let the gunner help. Short grass, salt the area. Success breeds confidence, which leads to perseverance

    /Paul
    This is great advice, very true. Whats difficult when trying to help someone with a training question is exactly what Ted stated. "Its hard to know exactly where the dog is at in training." After reading more about this animal I'm willing to say that the wrong question was asked. I personally don't want my young dogs hunting, I want them to front foot everything using their eyes first and nose secondary. Every dog is different as well as trainers and young dog programs. Eight months is young for sure but for some trainers and depending on the animals prey drive,desire and maturity level it may not be. The question was how do you teach a dog to hunt in the AOF longer?, not My dog lacks desire how do I build that? Sounds like this dog never really learned how to go with confidence . Its hard to remember sometimes that a lot of people might have bypassed the months of sight marks on soccers fields before FF and or before moving on to heavier cover when the bird on the ground isn't visible from the line. If the desire is not there yet, we can't expect them to dig out birds or go at distances when confidence/desire is needed.
    Last edited by WBF; 02-16-2014 at 11:59 AM.

  5. #25
    Member DrDuck's Avatar
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    I think real birds might increase the dogs desire to get the bird. Has the dog learned to use its nose? They love to learn to trail game. I think being successful trailing might keep a young dog in the area longer. You are still in the time with a dog where you want them be successful and have fun. I would drag a wet duck and let the pup follow the trail and then throw marks into a salted area and see if that helps.

    Spencer Tomb

  6. #26
    Senior Member Ted Shih's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrDuck View Post
    I think real birds might increase the dogs desire to get the bird. Has the dog learned to use its nose? They love to learn to trail game. I think being successful trailing might keep a young dog in the area longer. You are still in the time with a dog where you want them be successful and have fun. I would drag a wet duck and let the pup follow the trail and then throw marks into a salted area and see if that helps.

    Spencer Tomb

    I think that there is a tendency to view birds as a cure all. I want a dog that is nuts to retrieve bumpers. If my dog is nuts to retrieve bumpers, when the pressure is on, they will go for birds.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    If you go here,, and study the series Bill Hillman did explaining the "Y" drill,,I think it will definitly help most puppies,,, even more experienced dog.

    As the dog gets better you can substitute orange bumpers, and increase cover.


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  8. #28
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    My dog does not have a problem with retrieving. She loves birds and she loves to retrieve. The problem I was having was I throwing "middle" school grade marks for when when I should have been throwing grade school level marks. Thanks again for the help.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseGooser View Post
    If you go here,, and study the series Bill Hillman did explaining the "Y" drill,,I think it will definitly help most puppies,,, even more experienced dog.

    As the dog gets better you can substitute orange bumpers, and increase cover.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-W0...hwc2Ftn1uj3Yzi
    Great drill Thanks for posting.
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